London violates commitment of Sino-British Joint Declaration

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/29 20:28:40

For some time now, the British government has been making irresponsible remarks about Hong Kong, claiming that under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, Britain still holds responsibility for Hong Kong. London has repeatedly accused China of violating the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the promise of "one country, two systems." The US and other Western countries have also lent their support to London. The recent G7 summit also quoted the Sino-British Joint Declaration and made groundless statements.

What contradicts the Sino-British Joint Declaration is what the UK is doing today. To put it more bluntly, it is the UK, not China, which is really in breach of the 1984  document.

As is known to all, Hong Kong was under British colonization for a long period. Before it returned to China, the two countries signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration Which was meant to manage the transition of Hong Kong from British to Chinese rule, not to allow Britain to maintain its influence on Hong Kong after its return to China.  

In the joint declaration, China promised "one country, two systems" and a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong. These commitments were later fully enshrined in the Basic Law. A special committee including many Hongkongers was set up to draft the Basic Law. During the drafting process, views from all sectors of Hong Kong were widely heard. 

The legitimacy of Hong Kong's governance today comes from the Basic Law, and the Sino-British Joint Declaration has no role in that. The big logic behind the rule of law in Hong Kong today is to implement the Basic Law. The right to interpret the Basic Law is the exclusive prerogative of the standing committee of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China. Britain has no right to say anything about it.  

Yet Britain has recently been vocal about Hong Kong's affairs. It has seriously violated the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration on at least two levels. First, it is in serious breach of the original meaning of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and attempts to bring back from history the treaty that has completed the mission of guiding Hong Kong's return to China. 

Second, China and the UK had arranged the transition of Hong Kong's return to China through negotiations, with the common purpose of ensuring Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. The so-called "democratic movement" in Hong Kong later, whose radical demands went far beyond the agreement that Britain and China signed as a Joint Declaration on Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy. Hong Kong's last British governor Chris Patten, played an ignominious role, and London indulged him. London continued to support a series of radical moves by the opposition in Hong Kong. 

Britain has turned its back on the Sino-British Joint Declaration and made itself a disturbing force for the continued prosperity and stability of Hong Kong after its return to China. However, it is accusing China of undermining the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Today, Hong Kong is much more democratic than the Hong Kong under British rule. Today, the people of Hong Kong are really administering  Hong Kong. Every chief executive is a Hong Kong citizen being elected to the position, while all British governors in the colonial era were Britons appointed by London. 

How can London have the nerve to teach Beijing how to give Hong Kong citizens more democracy and freedom?

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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